An Unpleasant Situation

An Unpleasant Situation

April 30 2019
I am sharing this letter and my response because this family is not the only family that has carried memories, sometimes for years, of situations that occurred as their loved one was being cared for. As health care professionals it is a huge part of our job to educate, to explain what we are doing and why we are doing it...

8 Things to Consider Regarding End of Life Pain Management

8 Things to Consider Regarding End of Life Pain Management

April 18 2019
Often dying looks painful to the people watching. Dying is a struggle to get out of the body. There are sounds that ordinarily would indicate discomfort but, when a person is actively dying, are part of the struggle. Just as the little chick works to get out of its shell, a person works to get out of their body. It takes effort to release from our body. That includes rattling and gasping sounds, twitching, random hand and leg movements, picking the air, facial grimaces...

I Hear You, But I Don't Understand

I Hear You, But I Don't Understand

March 24 2019
...I remember being with my mother in my hospice Medical Director’s office. He was explaining to my mother his medical findings as they related to her illness. I, being a hospice Director and in the medical field, didn’t understand what he was talking about. My mother sat on the end of the examining table nodding her head up and down indicting that she understood. She didn’t....

GRIEF- Struggling After Mom's Death

GRIEF- Struggling After Mom's Death

February 11 2019
Often after a person dies we forget that there is no perfect relationship, that there are easy times and difficult times. Somehow once a person dies we elevate them to sainthood. By doing that we lock in the hurts. The guilt that is part of any relationship...

IT HAPPENED FOR A REASON? Death of a Child

IT HAPPENED FOR A REASON?  Death of a Child

December 11 2018
I suggest writing a letter to the person that died and saying from your heart what you need to say that you didn't say before. I recommend that you write your baby girl a letter. Pour your heart out to her and offer to her your wanting to let go of all the negative feelings you have been carrying all these years. Tell her, from the bottom of your heart...

7 Things to Consider Regarding End of Life Pain Management

7 Things to Consider Regarding End of Life Pain Management

October 30 2018
Dying is not painful. Disease causes pain. If pain has not been an issue during the disease process then just because a person is actively dying does not mean they are in pain. If pain has been an issue during the disease process that pain is present to the last breath...

Family Discord As Death Approaches

Family Discord As Death Approaches

October 16 2018
What I have discovered is that a family member dying can bring a family together. It can be their finest moment of closeness and comfort. But for other families it brings out the worst in relationship...

Purpose, Forgiveness and Meaning at End of Life

Purpose, Forgiveness and Meaning at End of Life

August 14 2018
What is the aim of a life review? As a caregiver my aim is not to direct a life review but to be a presence, a listener, and a friend. If life review becomes a subject the patient wants to pursue (whatever words may be used...

Where Is The Hospice I Know and Love?

Where Is The Hospice I Know and Love?

July 25 2018
Hospice can not take the experience and sadness of a loved one dying away. Our goal is to help the family create a sacred experience, to help their loved one have as gentle a death as possible, and when we have done our job well the family will have that sacred memory...

3 Things You Can Do As Someone Is Dying

3 Things You Can Do As Someone Is Dying

July 10 2018
The hours before actual death is very scary, a "I don't know what to do" time, for anyone present. Someone who knows the normal natural way a person dies can be like a conductor as they guide those present through the experience. You being there with your knowledge of end of life can have a significant role in turning an often frightening time into a sacred one. So, yes, I think you should stay if people unexpectedly arrive. Explain that if it is alright you would like to stay and

WHY NOT HOSPICE? A Reluctance To Refer

WHY NOT HOSPICE?  A Reluctance To Refer

June 26 2018
If the signs are there, get the referral and let a hospice professional determine if Hospice is appropriate. Three things I look for to tell me if it is time for Hospice are: 1. the patient’s condition is deteriorating in spite of the treatment that is being given. 2. You look at the person and say to yourself...

Pain, Morphine & "Dying in Peace"

Pain, Morphine & "Dying in Peace"

June 14 2018
It is certainly not within our role to act if a person, in the pain of the moment, wants help in ending their life. In the “pain of the moment” are the operative words here. I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard that plea in the throngs of pain, and the relief when that pain is relieved and life continues...

Calories Count

Calories Count

May 14 2018
When living with a life threatening illness we are eating for two---our physical body and our disease. In most cases the disease eats before we do. If we don’t eat, the disease still does. Nutrition will not keep a person alive indefinitely. It does not stop the disease progression. If we have a terminal illness...

DYING Young or Old, The Signs Are The Same

DYING Young or Old, The Signs Are The Same

April 10 2018
There are other signs of approaching death that indicate a person with a disease (at any age) has weeks to live...

The Profound Affect of Dementia on Families

The Profound Affect of Dementia on Families

March 26 2018
I can say that dementia doesn’t play by the rules for end of life. Withdrawing and sleeping can be present for years and does not signify approaching death. Not eating and not swallowing are your key signs. If we don’t eat, we can’t continue to live. Always offer food (be careful of choking), but don’t force food.

THIS IS HOW PEOPLE DIE - my latest film

THIS IS HOW PEOPLE DIE - my latest film

March 13 2018

My message throughout all this time has been to educate, educate, educate. Educate anyone who will listen about how people die. To help people understand how death comes, what it looks like, (a part of life we will all experience one day) is my focus, to neutralize the fear we all bring to approaching death. With my desire to teach as many people as possible I have created a new end of life educational film, This Is How People Die.

Nursing Home Blues, Part 2

Nursing Home Blues, Part 2

February 28 2018
...Fortunately, I suppose, my mother is now bed-bound and we were able to
get Hospice to help out, so she now fits the bill for a 'model patient'... but it
still seems one nurse can wreck her entire day with a bad attitude at
changing time or bath time. And family (which is me) must try to piece back together a mindset that keeps her contented and unafraid. this is a sad time of life. And I do have the Nursing Home Blues, quite regularly...

The Nursing Home Blues

The Nursing Home Blues

February 13 2018
As we get older, life presents us with different challenges. We adapt to them in the same way we have lived our life and dealt with all the challenges in our life up to this point---only our reactions become intensified. If we were withdrawn and not very social in our earlier living then as we get older we become more withdrawn, even less social. Think about...
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